One of the remedies I often recommend for a sluggish system is to defrag the hard drive. For those unfamiliar with the term, defragging involves reorganizing your hard disk by placing files closer together so your operating system can find them more quickly. Your Windows operating system comes with a disk defrag utility of its own, but anyone who has ever used it knows it takes an unbearably long time to do the job. Fortunately there are excellent free defrag utilities you can download to make your system run better immediately.
One of my most recommended free defrag apps is Auslogics Disk Defrag, but another program which was recently released might be even better. IOBit's Smart Defrag quickly analyzes your hard drive for fragments and sets to work piecing them back together. It can defrag several drives including partitions simultaneously. It can also optimize file locations and free space to get the best performance out of your hard drive, though this process takes a bit longer. The full scan time for my test machine's 75GB hard drive (without optimization) took just over 4 minutes. While Auslogics Disk Defrag runs in about the same amount of time, it's the added options of Smart Defrag that might make it your No. 1 defrag utility.
Smart Defrag lets you set up a schedule for defragging your hard drive so you'll never forget to run it. You can set it up to defrag at a certain time every day, every week, every two weeks, or at any interval you want. You also can have it defrag your hard drive every time you log in to your system or even have it set to autodefrag when your computer is otherwise idle. While it remains active in your system tray (unlike Auslogics), the footprint is small and doesn't significantly interfere with other processes.
One option, which seems small but has long been on my wish list for Auslogics Disk Defrag, is the ability to have Smart Defrag shut down my computer when it's finished. My favorite time to turn on a defrag utility on my home gaming machine is right before going to sleep, and with the autoshutdown feature, I don't have to worry about leaving my system running over night.
Smart Defrag is a free program, but the developer asks for donations if you like the software. My guess is, once you try it out, you might think a few bucks is worth your time for this excellent utility.